At-Home COVID Test Kits Become Retail’s Biggest Holiday Inventory Challenge

COVID home test kit

As supplies of at-home COVID-19 tests are either limited or completely gone across CVS and Walgreens locations across the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said the supply of at-home COVID-19 tests available for Americans will “improve greatly” in January. 

Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday (Dec. 26) that coronavirus testing is “very important” as the omicron variant surges across the U.S. and around the world, according to a report in The Washington Post on Monday (Dec. 27). 

“I think things will improve greatly as we get into January, but that doesn’t help us today and tomorrow,” he said during the ABC interview. 

Last week, the Biden administration announced a plan to offer 500 million at-home tests for Americans in January, noting on Tuesday (Dec. 21) as supplies of at-home tests were running out, “I don’t think anybody anticipated that this was going to be as rapidly spreading as it did.” 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday that officials had been “working hard as we anticipated this, because we knew that omicron had this capacity to increase at this rate.” 

For those who are able to find the at-home tests, they might be faced with limits, including a four-test limit at Walgreens. 

Related: Goldman: COVID Surge Could Reduce 2022 Demand for Elective Medical Procedures 

Meanwhile, the recovery in hospital and MedTech procedure volumes could be delayed, according to a Goldman Sachs report, which says there could be at least one more coronavirus surge once the omicron variant dies down. 

A future resurgence of the coronavirus could slow down the number of elective procedures that hospitals are able to perform and enhance the shortage of nurses across the healthcare sector until the spring, the report says.  

By mid-2022, “vaccines, natural immunity, antivirals and better overall management experience with COVID should increase the likelihood of recovery” for the healthcare industry, according to the Goldman Sachs report.